Roof Installation and Repair Buying Guide for Austin, TX
As the economy is improving, many homeowners are beginning to explore various renovations to increase the comfort of their home, its aesthetic appeal, and it marketability. One of the best investments that you can make in your home is replacing your roof. According to the 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, you can expect a 71.7% rate of return on investment (ROI) when you replace your roof. Certain types of roofing systems, like metal and slate, can further increase that ROI as prospective homebuyers are attracted to the durability and aesthetic appeal of those systems. Adding environmentally friendly features like solar panels can also increase your overall home value while providing significant monthly savings on your utility bills while you live in your home.
To determine which type of roofing system is best for you, you’ll want to answer a few questions:
- What type of roofing system will best stand up to Austin’s hot climate?
- What is your budget? Are there “faux” products that can protect your home while convincingly emulating the look of more expensive roofing options like cedar shakes or slate?
- Are you concerned about your environmental footprint? If so, which type of roofing system will have the smallest impact on the environment?
- Are you interested in a roofing system that can improve your home’s energy efficiency? The Department of Energy estimates that 56% of the energy used in your home goes toward heating and cooling, so selecting a roofing system that provides quality thermal insulation will have a big impact on your monthly utility bills.
Austin Climate and Your Roof
Residents of Austin, TX can expect at least 300 sunny days each year. Winters are mild, summers can be quite toasty, while the spring and fall offer up a great balance of blue skies and mild temperatures. Austin does experience its fair share of storms though and is one of the most flash-flood prone regions of the country, so you’ll need to select a roofing system that can stand up not only to intense UV rays and high temperatures, but also heavy rains and strong winds.
Solar Incentives–Consider Adding Solar Technology to Your Roofing System
To help Texans adopt solar technology, multiple incentives are offered at the utility, county, state and federal level. These solar incentives can take various forms including solar tax credits, up front solar rebates, net metering, or solar production incentives. The eligibility and rules for each incentive program can vary greatly. Your solar-installer should be able to help you navigate all of the available incentives to get your system installed at the best price. If you are considering installing a solar technology system on the roof of your Austin home though you should be aware of these three developments at a minimum:
- Federal tax credits allow you to take a personal tax credit of 30% of the total expense (including installation, fuels cells, and labor expenses) of your solar system. There is no maximum incentive, so if there is excess federal tax credit, it may be carried over to the subsequent tax year.
- Austin Energy subscribers are eligible for net metering. Any excess electricity generated by your solar technology system can be purchased by Austin Energy in exchange for credit on your next electric bill.
- While a new roof could increase your home value and your property taxes, your solar system will not. The state of Texas offers a property tax exemption (Texas Tax Code 11.27) that allows the owners of commercial, industrial, and residential properties to take an exemption from taxation (using form 50-123) for the amount of the appraised value of the property that increases as a result of the installation or construction of a solar energy system.
Roofing Permit Guidelines in Austin
In Austin, a building permit is required to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, improve, remove, convert, move or demolish any building or structure within in the City’s zoning jurisdiction or in certain Municipal Utility Districts (Section 25-12-243 of the City Code). To learn whether your project will require a permit, call the Development Services Department. Once a permit has been issued, an inspection must be scheduled. Once the final inspection has been completed, a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or Certificate of Compliance (CC) will be issued. All permits will remain active for 180 days, but will expire on the 181st day if the project has not received an inspection, or after the date of the last inspection that shows progress towards completion of the project. All expired permits must be resolved before a new building permit can be issued. To check whether an expired permit exists on your property, call the Development Services Department. There are multiple ways to contact the Department regarding a permit:
505 Barton Springs Road
The Development Services Department is open weekdays from 8am to 3pm. A licensed contractor should be able to assist you with the permitting process.